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I’m still thinking about the movie “Lincoln,” and all the books I’ve read on Lincoln, and the book I’m reading a little each night before bed, which is about Lincoln’s use of words. The Civil War doesn’t present any real challenge to my Quaker commitment to nonviolence, though of course hindsight is twenty-twenty. No, the real point of dissonance for me is Lincoln himself. Lincoln prosecuted a war so bloody and gruesome and far-reaching that it literally changed the way we think about death and became a kind of theological crisis for the country. (In the movie, Lincoln says to General Grant, “You and I have enabled each other to do some terrible things.”) And yet I just admire Lincoln so much.


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